PONTIAC -- For the opening quarter No. 25 BYU had a shutout over 11th-ranked Marshall University, but the Thundering Herd found other ways to win Monday in the third annual Motor City Bowl, 21-3.
The Cougars, now 8-4, neutralized the passing of Heisman finalist Chad Pennington, but his roommate Doug Chapman scored all three touchdowns as Marshall ran the table and remained undefeated at 13-0. Pennington completed 17 of 28 passes for 207 yards, while BYU's three quarterbacks were 16 of 29 for 220 yards before the Silverdome crowd of 44,863.
Chapman led the Mid-American Conference Champion to its second consecutive win in three straight Motor City Bowl appearances with 14 carries for 133 yards and two touchdowns on the ground and four receptions for 40 yards, including one TD.
"We did a good job on Pennington, but their overall speed on defense really came into the forefront and made a difference," said BYU Coach LaVell Edwards, whose team made its first indoor dome appearance. "It is discouraging and disappointing, but our execution was not there and we weren't able to make the big plays."
The Cougars scored first on a field goal by Owen Pochman with 1:58 remaining in the first quarter. That score was set up by a pair of 20 yard-plus receptions from Donny Atuaia and Jonathan Pittman. Quarterback Kevin Feterik was then face-masked to keep that drive alive, but the Cougars were unable to find the endzone.
Cougar defensive end Setema Gali registered his second sack of the first half on the Herd's ensuing possession, but Pennington completed a fourth and-one pass inside BYU territory. Then Marshall kicker Billy Malashevich, who hadn't missed in eight previous tries, glanced the first of two field goal attempts off the upright.
BYU went three and out, then looked to have a break when junior safety Jared Lee intercepted Pennington, only to have MU receiver Nate Poole poke the football out of his hands. After Marshall recovered Lee's fumble, Pennington completed a TD pass to Chapman with 8:18 left in the half.
Feterik countered on the next series by tossing a wobbly 67-yard pass to junior Margin Hooks, who was chased down from behind. However, the Cougars couldn't capitalize inside the red zone and Feterik suffered a collarbone injury off a blind-side corner blitz. Pochman, who had connected on 18 of 25 attempts in the regular season, was then wide left on his field goal attempt.
Byron Frisch picked up a sack of Pennington on MU's next drive and the Herd was forced to punt.
Then Feterik was sacked and fumbled the football, but a penalty nullified a potential TD for the Herd. Marshall's Malashevich missed another field goal on that drive as the half ended.
Feterik attempted to play in the second half, but left the game midway in the third quarter. Freshman Bret Engemann took the QB controls and connected with Tevita Ofahengaue for a first down before Jesse Sowards was forced to punt. Sowards got off a 60-plus-yard punt which helped his average of 48.3 on the afternoon.
Marshall punted after the next series and Sowards punted again. Then the Thundering Herd struck a big play with Chapman racing for an 87-yard TD with 51 seconds left in the quarter. Chapman scored in the fourth quarter on a short rush following an Engemann interception by Rogers Beckett.
In the fourth quarter Cougar freshman running back Luke Staley left the game with another injury. Afterwards, Sowards was roughed on the punt and the Cougars got another series of downs, but couldn't convert.
Then Pennington completed a big pass on the next MU series and Gali picked up another sack, which set up Malashevich's third missed field goal of the day.
BYU inserted sophomore quarterback Charlie Peterson to try to generate some offense in an attack which tallied minus 16 yards rushing for the day. Ben Horton made a one-handed grab off a Peterson pass, but Hooks couldn't hang on to the next bell-ringer.
The Cougars missed a final chance to score when Brian Gray had a clear path to the endzone, but couldn't hold on to a Pennington pass. On the final Cougar series, Peterson was intercepted by Marshall.
"Momentum shifted early in the game," said BYU center Jimmy Richards. "We had hoped to buy time and establish the run."
"We had a lot of mental breakdowns," said linebacker Justin Ena, who returns for his senior year when BYU opens the college football season on August 26. The Cougars play Florida State in the Pigskin Classic at Jacksonville, Fla.
BYU also returns to the East with games at Virginia and Syracuse and hosts Mississippi State, all in September.
1 2 3 4 F
-- -- -- -- ---
BYU (25) 3 0 0 0 3
Marshall (11) 0 7 7 7 21
BYU-FG Pochman 28
Marshall-Chapman 30 pass from Pennington (Malashevich kick)
Marshall-Chapman 87 run (Malashevich kick)
Marshall-Chapman 1 run (Malashevich kick)
First downs 12 14
Rushed-yards 30-M16 31-147
Passing yards 220 207
Sacked-yards lost 8-53 3-16
Return yards 18 90
Passes 16-29-2 17-28-1
Punts 5-48.3 4-42.8
Fumbles-lost 2-2 0-0
Penalties-yards 8-81 11-84
Time of possession 30:31 29:29
RUSHING: BYU-Atuaia 2-19, Charlie Peterson 3-7, Hooks 1-7, Paul Peterson1-4, L Staley 7-3,
Stearns 1-minus 1, Tahi 4-minus 4, Engemann 3-minus 24, Feterik 8-minus 27.
Marshall-Chapman 14-133, Turner 7-15, Poole 1-5, Greenleaf 1-4, Pennington 8-minus 10.
PASSING: BYU-Feterik 6-11-0-125, Engemann 6-11-1-45, Charlie Peterson 4-7-1-50.
RECEIVING: BYU-Hooks 4-108, Atuaia 4-35, Pittman 3-24, Ofahengaue 2-19, Horton 1-24, Nuno 1-8, Tahi 1-2.
Marshall-Williams 5-95, Chapman 4-40, Cooper 3-30, L Washington 2-25, Poole 2-13, Kellett 1-4.